77CANBERRA, Australia—Prime Minister John Howard saw his reelection campaign overshadowed Wednesday by accusations that he lied in 2001 about asylum seekers throwing their children off ships to force the Australian Navy to rescue them.

Howard—nicknamed “Honest John”—was battling allegations that one of his own lawmakers branded him a “lying rodent” over the incident, while a retired civil servant said the leader misled voters as he was running for his third term in office three years ago.

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